Archives: April 2010

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28. 04.10:

Call: ICT for the elderly


The Ambient Assisted Living programme has recently launched its third call for proposals entitled ''ICT-based Solutions for Advancement of Older Persons' Independence and Participation in the Self-Serve Society''. The call looks for technological solutions which allow older people to preserve and enhance their autonomy and dignity in all aspects of daily life such as the home environment or mobility, to take an active part in society and to stimulate and support the capacities required for such participation. It is particularly aimed at assisting the quality of life of the socially isolated, frail, and those suffering from chronic conditions or disabilities. Projects should be transnational in nature and involve industry (notably SMEs) and Higher Education Institutions in piloting new approaches with future market potential in terms of savings to be achieved in the cost of social and health care.

Deadline: 30 July
Further details
Contact: Gerard.butler@enterprise-ireland.com

The European Commission has also launched a public consultation on how best to use ICTs to help older Europeans live more independently, and more generally to establish new ways to put ICTs at the service of the most vulnerable members of society.

Consultation (Deadline: 1 July)



06. 04.10:

Sustainable Energy Funding Presentations


Presentations from the 'Which EU funding for my sustainable energy project?' conference held in Brussels on 25 March during the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2010 are now available online. The event included contributions from several programmes: INTERREG (generally), Intelligent Energy-Europe (including ELENA), ICT-Policy Support Programme, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Eco-Innovation market replication (part of the Competitiveness & Innovation Programme), and Life+.

Further details


CALLS: VOCATIONAL TRAINING - CREDIT SYSTEM & QUALITY ASSURANCE (LEONARDO)


On 31 March, two calls were published under the Leonardo da Vinci strand of the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP).

EUR2 million is available to support projects to test and develop the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET). Funded activities must relate to cooperative platforms among competent authorities (joint work programmes etc.) to consolidate working relations and transfer outcomes. Two types of action must be combined into a single project:
* Establishing partnerships between competent institutions on operational framework to develop tests on ECVET; and
* Actions to apply and implement ECVET in concrete terms.

EUR1.2 million is available for activities designed to improve quality-assurance systems and for promoting and developing the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF) in order to promote the development of a quality culture among stakeholders in the field of vocational education and training (VET). Proposals must comprise two activities:
* Development and coordination of specific projects testing and/or promoting the use of the reference framework within and between countries and targeting improvements in the quality of systems and the delivery of training.
* Development, at various levels, of bodies responsible for shaping policy and for the practical implementation of quality-assurance initiatives in the field of VET as well as formation of networks of such bodies.

Deadlines: 16 July
ECVET Credit System
EQARF Quality Assurance


02. 04.10:

Upcoming Call: Spatial Planning (ESPON)


A new round of ESPON calls will open on 3 May. Calls for proposals for two Applied Research Projects - European seas in territorial development and indicators and perspectives for services of general interest in territorial cohesion and development - will be re-launched as there were no bids for these in the last round of calls. Several targeted analyses ('Priority 2') projects will also be launched. An Information and Networking Day will be held in Brussels on 18 May.

Deadline: 28 June
Further details


Easing access to structural funds


On 18 March the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development adopted a report setting out new rules to speed up the flow of funding for certain EU-supported projects that help create employment. This sanctions advance payments and simplified Structural Funds implementing rules to enable public authorities to carry out planned EU co-financed investments despite severe budgetary constraints.

The new rules should somewhat ease the burden on public authorities by allowing countries like Ireland to receive advance payments in 2010 of 2% from the European Social Fund. This should provide some welcome element of leeway whereby approved ESF-supported initiatives such as job training courses and youth apprenticeships which may currently be stalled due to their dependence on an element of national ‘match funding’ may soon be able to get underway or resume.

Rules on the 'de-commitment' of ESF and European Regional Development Fund allocations (those approved for specific purposes in 2007), are also to be eased in order to give Member States more time to make use of them prior to a cut-off point. Major national-scale or EU-wide initiatives with a budget in excess of EUR50 million would escape the threat of decommitment under the new proposals as well as being able to avail of funding from a number of different EU programmes. Parliament will now put the proposals to a plenary vote on 21 April, and a supportive Council is expected to give its approval shortly thereafter, so that the measures can take effect by the summer.


Interreg NWE Workshops


Interreg IVB North west Europe is organising thematic project development workshops in Brussels. These are intended for organizations with the ambition of building future applications to the programme under the thematic priorities of Innovation (18 May) and Prosperous Communities (19 May). Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about identifies gap areas which the programme authorities wish to address, present their draft ideas and network.

Contact: Antoinette Jordan, ajordan@seregassembly.ie
Further details>


Petition to lessen research funding bureaucracy


An online petition among the research community to reduce the bureaucratic and reporting burden of EU R&D funding had gained almost 10,000 signatories by the end of March. The campaign calls for the European Council of Ministers and European Parliament to urgently simplify the financial and administrative provisions related to the Seventh Framework Programme and other European funding instruments. It instead urges a refocus of monitoring efforts upon results and outputs and a greater level of trust in acceptable risk-taking associated with scientific experimentation.

Further details


01. 04.10:

Unemployed Microfinance Facility agreed


Following the compromise reached with the European Parliament late last year (see this previous article), the Council of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs have now officially agreed to set up a fund providing entrepreneurial microloans to individuals and enterprises badly affected by the current economic crisis.

The EUR100 million Progress Microfinance Facility (expected to leverage 5 times that amount in credit) has been designed to provide a total of 45,000 loans from 2010-13.

The support is to be targeted at the following beneficiaries:
* Those recently made redundant or at risk of losing their job.
* Disadvantaged people, particularly those facing multiple deprivation and with no access to banking services.
* Micro-enterprises, and especially social enterprises employing people from the above groups.

It is expected to take the following forms:
* Equity investments aimed at strengthening the equity/capital base of microfinance providers and to support investments.
* Loans to microfinance institutions, to ensure they are in a position to provide loans to micro-borrowers at local level.
* Risk sharing and guarantees among several participants.

It is now expected that the first initiatives will be launched over the coming months with a budget of EUR25 million being provided for approximately 5,000 loans in 2010. It seems likely that a call for expression of interest to select local level (public or private) microfinance providers will be launched shortly. Complementary coaching, training, and mentoring opportunities are likely to be made available to loan beneficiaries through the European Social Fund (ESF) - presumably via Ireland’s Human Capital Investment Operational Programme under the Structural Funds.

Further details


Upcoming Call: Eco-innovation


The Eco-innovation funding scheme under the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Programme supports green products, services and technologies to bridge the gap between research and the market in making better use of natural resources and reducing ecological footprint. The 2010 call is due to be launched in April with an Information Day taking place in Brussels on 13 April. Funding of EUR30 million is set to be made available under this call.

Probable deadline: 9 September
Further details